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Friday, January 3, 2020

16 Picture Books Celebrating Australian Animals, Places & People

What plants and animals are in the rainforest, or the desert, or The Great Barrier Reef? Is pavlova Australian? Does Vegemite really taste good? What does ANZAC mean? What does it really feel like to be Australian? These are just some of the questions young children may have about Australia... how will you answer them?

I've always believed in the power of books for explaining big {or new} concepts to children in an age appropriate way, which is why my house is overflowing with them and we use them all the time. If you look hard enough there's a book for anything and these are my favourite books to introduce and explain Australian animals, places, icons, diversity and culture to children

Australian picture books 2021

Each one celebrates and captures quintessential parts of modern day Australia. Whether it's learning why a koala isn't a bear, where a wombat sleeps, when Australia was colonised, what vegemite tastes like, or who calls Australia home... these books have the answers {and some pretty cool illustrations too}. 


Australia has a diverse range of animals from the down right deadly to the quintessential marsupials, like koalas, kangaroos, wombats and wallabies that are synonymous with the land down under. There's also the weird and wonderful like the cassowary, platypus and quokka. 

But where exactly will you find all these creatures, and what do they eat? These picture books introduce kids to all the colourful creatures we have roaming the land and sea in Australia.

Australia under the sea 1,2,3 by Frane Lessac

Australia Under the Sea 1, 2, 3 | Frané Lessac

Australia Under the Sea 1, 2, 3 is a fun counting book that explores some of the wonderful and interesting marine life that can be found off the Australian coast. Frané Lessac takes readers on a vibrant journey through Australian waters with vivid illustrations and fun animal facts on each page. Children can learn about different sea creatures, like parrot fish and dugongs, while practicing counting 1-12.

AVAILABLE HERE: AmazonAmazon AU | Catch

love from australia picture book

Love from Australia | Ruth Waters

Love from Australia uses collage illustrations and rhyming postcards from different cities and iconic landmarks across Australia to introduce children to the many weird and wonderful creatures that call Australia home.

From crocs in Darwin to kangaroos in Canberra, Love From Australia explores this extraordinary country and introduces children to its most loveable (and frightening!) creaturesWhat an adventure! One I'll never forget. Watch the book being read aloud here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon | Amazon AU

A - Z of Australian Animals | Jennifer Cossins

Jennifer Cossins is a Tasmanian artist and writer famous for her stunning non fiction books and beautiful illustrations. A-Z of Australian Animals is an anthology packed full of interesting facts about 26 of Australia's animals, one for each letter of the alphabet. The book features iconic animals such as the kangaroo, koala and Tasmanian devil, but also has abstruse animals like the quokka and numbat.

Jennifer Cossins has a number of other animal books including A-Z of Endangered Animals101 Collective Nouns, The Baby Animal Book and The Ultimate Animal Counting Book.

AVAILABLE HERE: The Creative Toy Shop | Amazon | Amazon AU

Somewhere in Australia | Marcello Pennacchio

Somewhere in Australia is a beautiful picture book that uses rhyming and descriptive language to count through different Australian animals up to ten. The book is great for young kids to learn counting and one to one correspondence and is also great for acting out the various sounds and movements mentioned on each page. Watch the book being read aloud here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon | Amazon AU

Wombat Stew | Marcia K Vaughan

Wombat Stew is the story of a clever dingo who caught a wombat and decided to make gooey, brewy, yummy, chewy wombat stew. However, wombat's friends band together to help him by adding all sorts of weird ingredients into Dingo's stew. 

Wombat Stew is a colourful celebration of Australian outback animals and the bush tucker they all eat. It's a great way to teach young children about Australian wildlife and also a wonderful story of friendship and comradery. Watch Wombat Stew being read aloud here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon | Amazon AU

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Australian Friends | Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Australian Friends is a lift the flap board book the explores typical Australian habitats like the beach, rivers, rainforest and the desert. Readers can lift the flaps to discover different Australian animals that live there. 

Eric Carle uses fun rhymes and his famous vivid illustrations to bring Australian landscape and animals to life. This book is perfect for toddlers and younger children. Watch the book being read aloud here.



Here in Australia we're lucky enough to have such a diverse range of landscape that provides shelter for ourselves and our native animals. From the harsh, dry deserts in central Australia to the lush rainforests and coral reefs of North Queensland, each part of Australia creates a unique ecosystem. The following picture books aptly describe and celebrate the varying landscape found across Australia.

An amazing Australian Road Trip by Jackie Hosking

An Amazing Australian Road Trip | Jackie Hosking

Aunty is turning 60 so the whole family is packing up and headed on an epic road trip across Australia to find the perfect picnic spot for her birthday. Join them as they travel far and wide around Australia on the Great Ocean Road visiting iconic landscapes and landmarks along the way. 

From the 12 Apostles to Coober Pedy, Ningaloo Reef, Uluru and The Great Barrier Reef, An Amazing Australian Road Trip will take you on a journey through every state and territory in Australia. The book uses rhyming text, beautiful illustrations and loads of interesting facts to share the story of Australia's outback, coastal and inner city regions.


Why I Love Australia picture book by Australian author and artist Bronwyn Bancroft

Why I Love Australia | Bronwyn Bancroft

In Why I Love Australia, Bronwyn Bancroft uses vivid pictures and expressive language to convey the beauty and magic of the Australian landscape. Bancroft is a proud Bundjalung woman and has illustrated the book with her modern version of traditional aboriginal paintings. 

The book is both an acknowledgement and celebration of Australian's traditional culture as well as an exploration of it's beautiful and varied landscape. Watch the book being read aloud here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon | Amazon AU

A is for Australia | Frané Lessac

In A in for Australia, author and illustrator Frané Lessac takes readers on a tour across Australia. What is the Fremantle Doctor? Where is Qui Qui? And why are some islands named after days of the week? 

Uncover these exciting facts when you explore from Bondi to Kakadu and all the way to Taronga Zoo. Discover why Australia is one of the most amazing countries in the world!

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon | Amazon AU


Australia is a multicultural country combining descendants from the original aboriginal inhabitants with descendants from the colonisation in 1788 when the first British fleet arrived, as well as many immigrants from all over the world. We have national holidays and events such as Australia Day, Anzac Day and NAIDOC week and are also heavily influenced by other cultures. 

Around the world we're known for the BBQ, Hills Hoist clotheslines, thongs {for our feet, not our bums}, Anzac biscuits, Tim Tams, fairy bread and often the most divisive of all, Vegemite. We have iconic structures and places to visit like The Sydney Opera House, Uluru and The Great Barrier Reef and everyone recognises famous Aussies Steve Irwin, Chris Hemsworth and Ned Kelly {even though two of them are no longer with us}. The following picture books do a great job of honouring famous Australians and capturing what it means to be Australian for today's kids.

Amazing Australian Women by Pamela Freeman

Amazing Australian Women | Pamela Freeman

Meet twelve amazing Australian women who have changed the world, in small ways and large. Some of them are world famous, some of them are famous in Australia, all of them deserve to be famous and admired. These women are the warriors who paved the way for the artists, business owners, scientists, singers, politicians, actors, sports champions, adventurers, activists and innovators of Australia today. 

Amazing Australian Women tells the life stories of Mary Reibey {convict and businesswoman}, Tarenore {Indigenous resistance fighter}, Mary Lee {suffragist}, Nellie Melba {opera singer}, Edith Cowan {politician}, Tilly Aston {teacher, writer and disability activist}, Rose Quong {actress, lecturer and writer}, Elizabeth Kenny {nurse and medical innovator}, Annette Kellerman {swimmer and movie star}, Lores Bonney {aviation pioneer}, Emily Kame Kngwarreye {artist} and Ruby Payne-Scott {scientist}.

This book is great for older children who are confident readers and interested in learning more about historical events and people. Watch author Pamela Freeman reading Amazing Australian Women aloud here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon AU | Catch 

I'm Australian Too Mem Fox picture book celebrating Australia

I'm Australian Too | Mem Fox

In I'm Australian Too, Mem Fox celebrates Australia's diverse and multicultural heritage. She talks about all different parts of Australia and many reasons why families come to make a better life in Australia. 

The book is a wonderful age appropriate way to encourage a discussion about immigration and how sometimes people originally come from other countries, but now call Australia home. I'm Australian! How about you? Watch I'm Australian Too being read aloud here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon AU | Amazon

Australia Illustrated | Tania McCartney

Australia Illustrated uses intricate illustrations to explore iconic places, landmarks, flora, fauna, foods, people and events in each state. Australia Illustrated is like a pictorial encyclopedia and tourist guide of Australia for kids and adults alike. It would also be great to send to relatives overseas who want to learn more about everything Australian. Watch the book trailer here.

AVAILABLE HERE: Amazon | Amazon AU

kids picture book an aussie year by tania mccartney

An Aussie Year | Tania McCartney

An Aussie Year gives a glimpse into what it's like being Australian, featuring modern day culture and celebrations as well as long standing traditions. The book follows five Australian kids Ned, Lily, Zoe, Kirra and Matilda throughout an entire year and highlights multicultural festivals, national events, foods, celebrations and every day experiences that make up a typical Aussie year. 

Swinging on clotheslines, wearing thongs, eating meat pies and icy poles, Tania McCartney has captured the essence of an Aussie childhood, while also paying homage to important cultural events like NAIDOC week and Anzac Day.

AVAILABLE HERE: Catch | Amazon | Amazon AU

picture books about Australian animals, people and places

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